Gardening is an enjoyable hobby and it is a great form of physical activity – it can improve your overall strength, endurance, flexibility and can clear your mind from life’s daily stress. It’s important to keep your body conditioned, practice healthy habits, and follow these simple ergonomic tips while you’re out working on your yard:
- It’s a good idea to warm up before doing yard work. Try taking a short walk or some light stretching before starting.
- Perform digging tasks when the earth is moist. Moist earth is easier to dig in than dry, compact or saturated earth.
- Alternate between tasks that require heavy lifting or repetitive movement, with tasks that are easier to do.
- Try to avoid kneeling and use a garden stool instead. If you must kneel, use a padded kneeler.
- Keep your wrist straight (in line with your forearm), when pushing, pulling and grasping. This decreases tension on the elbow and wrist.
- When pruning make sure the plant is directly in front of you to avoid overreaching and twisting.
- Always use protective gloves. Thin gloves are preferable. Too much padding will decrease hand strength by as much as 30 percent. This will decrease hand coordination and power grip.
Rehabilitation Associates, Inc. offers a multidisciplinary approach to healing – physical and occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, clinical social work and medical nutrition services. Our staff is committed to working with you one-on-one through personalized care plans to meet your goals!